There was a line down the block in front of the Apple Store on 14th Street at 8:30 on a Tuesday night. No, the new iPhone hasn’t come out. These were all fans of music waiting to see soul singer Jesse Boykins III. The musician has built up a strong fan-base, they roll over 13,000 deep on Twitter, and it sure showed. Apple couldn’t allow any more people in after about 9:15.
Joe Kenneth started off the festivities by reciting a mind-bending and ear-grabbing poem that got the audience’s attention focused right off the bat. Kenneth is a fellow member of The Romantic Movement, which was started by Boykins and embodies the spirit of the reawakening of The Romantic Movement through their passion and pushing of love.
Next up, the video for “The Perfect Blues” premiered on monitors all around the room. The video, directed by Boykins’ right hand art man Dr. Woo, and shot in Tokyo, more than whet the appetite for the crowd. Soon after, Boykins and his band took the stage and the night truly began.
There are certain artists whose music is great when you listen to it in your headphones or speakers, but take it to a whole new level when you see them perform live. Boykins is without a doubt one of those artists. His voice projects and bounces through the microphone and off the walls with such passion and energy that you can’t help but feel it in your soul. His live band consists of two guitarists, a drummer, a trumpeter, and a keyboard player. This added yet another layer to the dynamics of the show. The drums and trumpet were especially powerful components, providing undeniable extra bursts of energy and life to an already heartfelt display of emotion being given through Boykins’ voice.
Melo-Xtra and MoRuf, fellow musicians of The Romantic Movement, took to the stage mid-performance to perform a few jams from the upcoming group project: Zulu Guru. Both artists held their own extremely well, effortlessly sharing the spotlight with Boykins. Their chemistry on-stage showed how comfortable they are around each other and how well they work together.
Although the venue was packed to capacity, Boykins still managed to keep an intimate environment throughout the entire night. When he wasn’t singing, he made sure t0 interact with the crowd the whole time — whether it be cracking jokes, talking about his work or getting people to sing along to certain melodies (which got especially great when he asked only the guys to sing at one point of this activity, which they were surprisingly good at). The humbleness and down-to-earth manner of Boykins was more than evident and is yet another reason to be a fan of the singer. He’s a free spirit and a romanticist who can connect with everyone.
“Schwaza” is a word that Boykins and his group throw around quite frequently. In a recent interview with Ashley Outrageous, he describes the slang term as “anything that happens that signifies an amazing moment” or “anytime you feel good.” Well, in that case, this sure was a night of Schwaza.
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